Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Bats - Good News for Australia's Bats

The following summary of the situation  (and any concern about a connection between Australian bats and the virus) is provided by Vincent Munster. 

Vincent and his team are renowned specialists who work in the field and the laboratory on both SARS and Ebola and are actively involved with CoV-19 research (now being referred to as Sars-CoV-2 by researchers).   

Although coronaviruses have been detected in fruitbats, so far the coronaviruses which are directly related to SARS-CoV-2 have exclusively been detected in insectivorous  horseshoe bats in SE Asia (predominantly in China). The emergence of these novel coronaviruses are likely the results of an intricate mix of species available at Chinese wild animal / wet markets  which allows the virus to further develop zoonotic potential and spill over to humans. Similar circumstances are currently not present in Australia, the risk is therefore deemed very low.

Vincent Munster, PhD

Chief, Virus Ecology Section

Laboratory of Virology

Rocky Mountain Laboratories


The following information has been provided by the NSW DPIE for the public and the wildlife rescue sector. It is in response to a letter to the NSW Minister for the Environment from residents living near a grey-headed flying-fox camp who expressed concern about their health and enquired as to a possible link between bats and COVID-19 (also known as CoV-19 and coronavirus).  

Officers in the NSW DPIE directed enquiries to the researchers who are at the forefront of this field (both nationally and internationally) and collated the responses.

NSW DPIE felt it would assist wildlife carers and concerned members of the public to have the same information which is as follows:

The understanding of the various researchers working on CoV-19 (now being calling Sars-CoV-2) is consistent with the Fact Sheets provided by Wildlife Health Australia, which provide excellent information:

Time to End Deadly Live Animal Markets for Good - Humane Society International 

'The wide ranging effect of COVID-19 virus demonstrates it is essential to ban the trade and consumption of wildlife – especially in the wild animal/wet markets. It is vital that wildlife markets worldwide are banned permanently'. 

Since the live animal markets are just the shopfront, commercial breeding, trading and transporting wildlife must all be banned, particularly in countries such as China, Laos, Myanmar, Indonesia and Thailand.

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